Today we celebrate a life lived that was once largely hidden from view. Mary’s theological and historical significance had remained somewhat veiled until the Council of Ephesus in 431 formally declared her to the world as the Mother of God. That is not to say until the Council of Ephesus, we did not know our Blessed Mother. The Council simply acknowledged the title God had already bestowed to her.
One of the aspects of the Catholic Faith that I love so much is the expansion of faith. The Word of God, for a Catholic, is more than Scripture. While Scripture is key to faith, Catholics are not simply a people of the Book. To limit faith and narrow the Word of God only to those found in Scripture is to limit God’s ability to speak with His children. His words come through in liturgy, sacraments, traditions and devotions. Our Lord communicates the same truths found in Scripture, just in a different way. Perhaps in ways that may have otherwise fallen on deaf ears.
Why is the Nativity of Mary so important? Simple – no Mary, no Christ. Without the Blessed Virgin, God would not have come down and be made flesh for our salvation. She was the beginning. The Nativity of Mary prepared the way for the birth of Christ. She fulfilled God’s plan simply by being born, and by surrendering to His will.
Our Blessed Mother is only one of three birthdays celebrated within the Church. Obviously, the most important is Christmas and the birth of Christ that is at the heart of Christian faith. Mary’s coming into the world, as ordained by God, is also self explanatory. The third Nativity is that of John the Baptist. He herald the coming of the Lord. It’s important to acknowledge that both Mary and John were born without the stain of original sin. Mary is the immaculate conception, without sin from the very beginning. John was made holy in the womb when Mary, with child, visited Elizabeth. Faith is such a beautiful tapestry woven together in ways that we might not always see.
Thank you God, for our Blessed Mother now and forever. We celebrate this day with an amazing cake and it’s crown of flowers.
Lemon Cake Crowned with Flowers
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Milk
1-1/2 cup water
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
6 large Eggs
2 boxes Lemon Cake Mix
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside. Melt butter, let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir together the milk, water, butter, oil and large eggs until well incorporated.
Add cake mix, blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.
Divide combined batter the prepared cake pans. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool cake layers in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake layers onto the racks and cool completely, about 45 minutes.
While the cakes cool, make the frosting.
1-1/2 cups Butter
5 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream
Cream butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, about 90 seconds.
Measure powdered sugar without sifting, then sift into a separate bowl.
Reduce speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
Add lemon juice, beat well. Add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is light, fluffy and spreadable. Add more cream, a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.
1 bouquet Edible Flowers
Fresh Mint Leaves
Edible Flower Suggestions: Tuberous Begonias, Violas, English Daisies, and Pansies. If uncertain or unable to find fresh flowers, artificial flowers can be used. Select smaller flowers, wash well in mild soapy water, rinse and dry before using.
Using a serrated knife, trim domed tops from each cake later to make the layers flat and even.
Place the first cake layer on a cake plate, cut side down. Spread the Lemon-vanilla Buttercream over the top of the cake, leaving the side unfrosted.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the first, cut side down. Spread frosting over the top.
Place the final layer of cake on top of the second layer, cut side down. Spread frosting generously over the top.
Spread a thin layer of frosting down the sides of the cake, exposing most of the cake for a “naked” appearance.
Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Trim flowers, arrange a crown of flowers around the top edge of the cake. Tuck mint leaves into the crown as needed to fill in the gabs and add greenery.
Tip: Cut a piece of paper the same size as the top of the cake. Experiment with flowery crown until happy with the arrangements, then move flowers one at a time to the cake top. This way you’ll avoid the mess and frustration of trying to rearrange the flowers once on the frosted cake.